Graduate Seminar: Barbara Bowen

Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Graduate Seminar
Tuesday, October 7, 1986 to Tuesday, December 9, 1986

Rabelais and Renaissance Laughter

Barbara Bowen, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

currently teaching at Vanderbilt University

This course attempted to situate Rabelais’ works in the intellectual context of what educated Renaissance readers found laughable.  It concentrated on comic contexts, but also discussed contexts not intrinsically humorous (humanism, rhetoric, logic, law, medicine, folklore) which Rabelais transformed into comedy.  The following topics were proposed for detailed discussion: (1) epic and mock-epic; (2) comic theatre; (3) humanist satire; (4) the humanist joke tradition; (5) the sermon exempla tradition; and (6) comic and satirical poetry. 

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